2E Design Journal #4

Check here for updates and discussion about the new edition of the Victory by Any Means Campaign System.
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Tyrel Lohr
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Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed May 06, 2009 5:46 pm

jygro wrote:I got to say that I am really liking where this 2E is going. The idea of changing the output of a colony to be EP, tech and Intel is a cool one. Will there be a maximum to all of the aspect of a colony (Intel, tech and the like) or will it be based on the census/Capicity of the planet/system in question.


The current plan is to have all Infrastructure stats have a maximum equal to a planet's Carrying Capacity. Max Census is also equal to Carrying Capacity, but there is still some debate over whether Morale should be tied to Census or Carrying Capacity. I think the 1E pegging of Morale to Census is probably for the best, with the addition of a few Maximum Morale modifiers in the rules (such as for Capitals, both Imperial and Sector).

It will be possible to build colonies with no Census, at which point they will basically serve as military bases or very small civilian outposts.

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Postby jygro » Fri May 08, 2009 3:06 am

Is morale still going to be a number that moves or did it get changed as well? I really would like to see morale as just five states:

Rebellious, Unrest, Neutral, Happy, Glorious

In this model, the size of the census matters not just what catagory the planet is in. With the new critical success/failure mechanism in place, it feels like a streamlined way of handling things...

-Bren
*Edited* since I can't seem to type!
Last edited by jygro on Sat May 09, 2009 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Charles Lewis » Fri May 08, 2009 1:18 pm

Hmmmmm......
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Postby zyffyr » Fri May 08, 2009 2:58 pm

jygro wrote:Is morale still going to be a number that moves or did it get changed as well? I really would like to see morale as just five states:

Rebellious, Unrest, Neutral, Happy, Glorious

In theis model, the size of the census matters not just what catagory the planet is in. With the knew critical success failure mechanism in place, it feels like a streamlined way of handling things...

-Bren


I would go with a numeric value (uncoupled from Census or any other number) that translates into those ranges. Something like :

0 = Rebellious
1-3 = Unrest
4-6 = Neutral
7-9 = Happy
10 = Glorious

That allows for effects of varying sizes. +/- 1 for relatively minor things, +/- 3 for truly major events (or spectacularly bad rolls on lesser events).

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Postby nimrodd » Fri May 08, 2009 4:30 pm

zyffyr wrote:I would go with a numeric value (uncoupled from Census or any other number) that translates into those ranges. Something like :

0 = Rebellious
1-3 = Unrest
4-6 = Neutral
7-9 = Happy
10 = Glorious

That allows for effects of varying sizes. +/- 1 for relatively minor things, +/- 3 for truly major events (or spectacularly bad rolls on lesser events).


I like morale being decoupled from census. Intel cost for missions to change morale could be tied to census size, as it would be easier to influence a census 3 planet than a census 10 planet.

That was one of the things I disliked about morale in 1e, in that a census 1 system was either in good order or was rebelling, no in between.
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Postby MarkG88 » Fri May 08, 2009 6:01 pm

nimrodd wrote:I like morale being decoupled from census. Intel cost for missions to change morale could be tied to census size, as it would be easier to influence a census 3 planet than a census 10 planet.

That was one of the things I disliked about morale in 1e, in that a census 1 system was either in good order or was rebelling, no in between.


I'm with nimrodd on this point. I've never liked the low census = low morale ratio. The suggestion of intel costs tied to census size is also something I like and agree with.

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Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri May 08, 2009 11:35 pm

I am personally in favor of decoupling Morale from Census, but I still like the (modified) traditional way of handling Morale states (Good Order, Unrest, Rebellion). In my take on the rules, the three Morale states still exist, but they integrate the concepts from the optional Morale rules included in the Companion so that a Morale 0 colony is not instantly going to rebel, but over time it is quite likely that it will happen.

However, I do think it would be good to have Morale be another statistic like the rest that has a maximum value equal to a planet's Carrying Capacity, so that a 1 Census colony could have 3 Morale. This would insulate it from sudden Morale loss, preventing the major issue with Morale and colonies from being such an issue. You could have a 1 Census colony with 10 Morale, too, so long as the planet where the colony is located as 10 Carrying Capacity (and no other colonies are present at the same location, of course).

There is something to be said about eliminating Rebellion as a Morale state and just setting it so that any colony with Morale >= Census is Good Order and any colony with Morale < Census at Unrest. Rebellion could then be thrown in as just a result of failing an Unrest-related Morale Check when a colony has 0 Morale. That way 0 Morale wouldn't necessarily mean a colony would be in Rebelllion yet, and it would leave players with only two states to really worry about.

The downside to the above is that there would then be no distinction between Rebellion and Secession. From a gameplay perspective that isn't necessarily a bad thing, either, as you wouldn't need separate rules for both occurrences. However, it also means that the only thing separate localized planetary uprisings from all-out civil wars is the number of colonies that are Rebelling at the same time and/or location.
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Postby Charles Lewis » Sat May 09, 2009 2:29 am

I don't think Morale should be tied to Carrying Capacity - then small worlds have an additional penalty (besides being small)
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Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat May 09, 2009 5:17 am

Charles Lewis wrote:I don't think Morale should be tied to Carrying Capacity - then small worlds have an additional penalty (besides being small)


That's a good point.

That leaves Morale still being tied to Census, because I don't think we can get by with having Morale being a free-floating stat that isn't tied to something. Otherwise you end up with the opposite problem, with it taking the same amount of Morale drop to coup a large colony as it does an outpost, which makes scaling effects almost impossible.

Another option would be to treat the Morale/Census relationship as an inverse of the Damage/Defense Rating relationship. A colony could have a maximum Morale equal to twice its Census; if Morale is equal to or greater than Census, it is in Good Order and everything functions normally. If Morale is less than Census but greater than 0, then the colony is in a state of Unrest, and all output is halved. Finally, if Morale is 0, then the colony is in Rebellion and stops producing anything.

This pattern is a more "natural" progression from 1E, and is more of a compromise than anything else. Even a 1 Census colony would then have a maximum Morale of 2. That insulates it a bit from sudden Morale loss. The insulation gets even better for larger colonies, which does have the downside of making large colonies have insanely high Morale -- which could be a real problem should Morale ever hit those maximums. Of course, if the rules state that you just gain 1 Morale when landing Census and lose 1 Morale when they leave (in order to keep people from just juggling Census for Morale boost), then you are ensured that a new colony will always be on the line between Good Order (need a new name for this one, don't we?) and Unrest. That leaves the player to run propaganda campaigns against the colony to increase Morale up to the maximum. So a 3 Census colony might start with 3 Morale, but player interactions (both friendly and hostile) can adjust it from there on a span from 0-6.

Also, in reference to Propaganda Intel Missions, the difficulty level for these will be set to Census... I think. I have a not here some place. I think it was Census and not Morale, and if we do go with expanded Morale values it would definitely have to be Census. Using Census as the base difficulty would allow a player to increase the Morale of their smaller colonies for affordably, especially since Intel Points will be persistent and not transient as in 1E.
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Postby jygro » Sat May 09, 2009 5:47 am

What if the amount of census determined when the morale level of a colony increased/decreased? Once the morale level moved, the value resets.

Example: A census 5 planet is at a morale level of "Happy" In order for the morale level to move, it would have to have -5 morale points (sending it to Neutral) or +5 morale points (sending it to Glorious). Once that value is obtained (+5/-5), the value would reset to 0.

A critical success changes the morale level by +1d3, the minor success by +1, a minor failure by -1 and a critical failure by -1d3.

Now, small colonies would have a smaller buffer on their happiness state than larger ones, but I can see that being the case. The smaller the colony, the less people need to be happy/upset before something happens!

-Bren

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Postby zyffyr » Sat May 09, 2009 5:57 am

Tyrel Lohr wrote:That leaves Morale still being tied to Census, because I don't think we can get by with having Morale being a free-floating stat that isn't tied to something. Otherwise you end up with the opposite problem, with it taking the same amount of Morale drop to coup a large colony as it does an outpost, which makes scaling effects almost impossible.


Morale doesn't need to be tied to any other stat. As long as the difficulty of adjusting Morale is tied to the Census, you do not have the problem you describe.

Under the existing system, it takes twice the effort to zero out the morale of a Census 4 as it does for a Census 2.

If the difficulty of moving a Census 4 by one point is twice that of a Census 2, then the overall difficulty of zeroing it out is still double without the 0-1 binary state that Census 1 currently has.

Putting every colony on the same scale has the additional advantage of only having to reference one number to determine the current morale state of a given colony. A quick scan down one column identifies all potential problem locations.

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Postby murtalianconfederacy » Sat May 09, 2009 9:01 am

Thing is, it makes sense for Morale to be tied to Census, and for a Census 1 system to only have two states--good order or rebellion. With such a small population and presumably them being close by, any small incident is going to quickly involve a significant portion of the population.
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Postby zyffyr » Sat May 09, 2009 1:32 pm

murtalianconfederacy wrote: With such a small population and presumably them being close by, any small incident is going to quickly involve a significant portion of the population.


That is the point of making the difficulty of changing be tied to Census.

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Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat May 09, 2009 4:07 pm

zyffyr wrote:Morale doesn't need to be tied to any other stat. As long as the difficulty of adjusting Morale is tied to the Census, you do not have the problem you describe.


The problem is that it is not possible to always use Census size to determine the difficulty of Morale adjustments. For Propaganda Intel missions it would work, but there are other cases in the rules where Morale might be increased/decreased, including automatic +- modifiers that wouldn't use the Intel mechanisms to test for success/failure.

zyffyr wrote:Putting every colony on the same scale has the additional advantage of only having to reference one number to determine the current morale state of a given colony. A quick scan down one column identifies all potential problem locations.


This is true, but it also makes it is so that it so that non-Propaganda Intel mission Morale adjustments will have the same effect on larger colonies as small ones, which doesn't make much logical sense. It should be easier to manipulate Morale at a colony with a few thousand people compared to a colony with a population of a million or more.

I can see where you guys are headed with this, and I wish that we could find a happy medium that would make it work without breaking other aspects of the rules, or that wouldn't make other calculations unnecessarily cumbersome. I will take a look at the Morale rules we already have written and see if there is a way to make the concept work without breaking things, and do a bit of testing on this end to see what we can get away with.
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Postby nimrodd » Sun May 10, 2009 4:48 am

Tyrel Lohr wrote:
zyffyr wrote:Morale doesn't need to be tied to any other stat. As long as the difficulty of adjusting Morale is tied to the Census, you do not have the problem you describe.


The problem is that it is not possible to always use Census size to determine the difficulty of Morale adjustments. For Propaganda Intel missions it would work, but there are other cases in the rules where Morale might be increased/decreased, including automatic +- modifiers that wouldn't use the Intel mechanisms to test for success/failure.


How about Morale being a free standing stat from 0-10.

For Insurgency/Counter-Insurgency missions, the mission difficulty level is equal to census/3 rounded up to change 1 point. This way a census 1-3 would have a difficulty of 1, 4-6 = 2, 7-9 = 3 & 10-12 = 4. This represents the additional expense that it takes to influence a larger population.

For normal Morale rolls due to Morale checks, perhaps a modifier to the roll such as census/3 (rounded up) - 3. This would give census 1-3 systems a -2 to the morale check, census 4-6 a -1, census 7-9 no modifier and census 10-12 a +1 modifier. This would mean that for a census 1-3 system, most morale checks would be automatic, with only hostile force seizing the system getting to roll to prevent the morale loss.

This would make census a consistent (in range) variable in adjusting morale, while giving a constant morale range.
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